Norwegian cooked wine, a bone museum, and more surprises in Davao | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

RBG blackened Gen San tuna;
RBG blackened Gen San tuna;

Wine was cooking when we arrived for cocktails. You read right. It’s called gløg; our host, Geir Sikko, general manager of Davao City’s Park Inn Hotel, wanted his guests to taste something from Norway, his home country.


The hot beverage is usually red wine cooked in several spices like cinnamon and raisins. And though it is usually served in winter in many temperate countries, it was a warm welcome for us, and drinking it certainly brought Sikko back to his Nordic home.


Gløg was served at the poolside with the cocktail buffet, and the hospitality extended to the RBG Restaurant, where chef Jayme Natividad (who has worked in several restos here and abroad) served us a delightful seafood sinigang soured by mangosteen, meatballs with locally made Malagos farm ricotta, lechon pasta and  durian cheesecake.


We guessed right that RBG stands for red, blue and green, the restaurant’s main colors.


But the whole of Park Inn Hotel had such colorful furniture and paintings that the rainbow motif even extended to the hotel cars.




Part of SM’s Radisson hotel group, Park Inn is connected to the SM Lanang mall by a second-level walkway that made it convenient for hotel guests to cross over. The mall was huge, with a convention center, but its big open space gave it an airy, light feel.


That was one of the new features of Davao, at least for me.


The other was the D’Bone Collector Museum, founded by Darrel Blatchley, who had this missionary zeal (he is a missionary like his parents) to put together bones of wild animals (whales, dolphins and crocodiles), even the minutest fish, and even of  his dead dog.


Marina tuna kinilaw

The place was a wonder because of his patience and skill in composing the skeletons. But even more compelling was the reason for putting all those on display—to teach viewers to be careful about what are thrown carelessly into the sea. Some of those creatures died after swallowing small plastic bottles and bags.


Visit and support the museum when you are in Davao (Trading Boulevard Bucana, San Pedro St. Extension).


How delightful to know that our schedule allowed visits with friends.


Twins Michael and Mel Aviles brought out much of the goodies they are known for at Lachi’s (Ruby St., Marfori Heights). We had reverse tasting—starting with desserts (durian sans rival, crème brûlée cake, baked cheesecake, etc.), and on to the “unforgettable ribs” and perfect laing.


The place is busy especially at regular eating hours.


The Aviles brothers do the cooking, manage the front of the house, and seem to be enjoying having their Davao customers taste their mother’s recipes.


Sunday is sacred since it’s family time, and lunch is when they taste new recipes which the brothers hope to add to the Lachi’s menu.


‘Crazy Cook’


Another gastronomic event happened in the home of Carmina Mapa del Rosario, aka “The Crazy Cook,” her catering name.


On our previous visit, she prepared her dishes in a wine bar; she now has her own kitchen at home which she sometimes transforms into a venue for dining events.


Her Davao menu, for starters, has “Dagat” (sea) using imbao (white shellfish) cooked as chowder with coconut cream and galangal, her touch of Thailand where she lived once.


Park Inn front desk

Going with it was a Lagarde Altozano Verdejo & Sauvignon Blanc, 2012.


“Ikog” came next, Visayan for tail, an oxtail terrine atop a risotto made of brown rice with a very Cebuano balbacua jus. The wine with it was a Lagarde Altas Cumbres Malbec, 2012.


The ending was a passion trifle that had layers of passion fruit coulis, a ganache made from San Isidro cacao, and sugarcane soaked in rum.


What a delight to know that the Lagarde Argentine wines importer, Carlo Calma Lorenzana, also promotes his family’s Sunmade brown rice grown in Davao, which was cooked as risotto that evening.


Tablea, dark candy


A more conventional lunch was at Marina Tuna, where its 10 ways with tuna threatened to make us too full to have dinner. The last time we were at Marina, the order was only for three ways because there were just two of us, and we were curious about the sinigang of tuna eyes.


On this visit we had sashimi, kinilaw, bihod or eggs sautéed, a tuna version of chop suey, inihaw na panga (grilled jaw), sinigang of head, crispy tail, and then we lost count.


But a visit to Davao won’t be complete without touching base with Olive Puentespina, Malagos cheese maker, bignay winemaker, cacao grower, and now chocolate processor with new products of tablea and dark candy bars.


We expect to taste her cheese whenever we are there, and look for those when we go back to Manila.


She had her tasting cheeses prepared for us with sidings of fresh fruit, nuts, dried dates and apricots. Her workshop is being expanded, where she will offer lessons on how to make cheese.


Looking forward then to our next visit and learning sessions with Olive. Hoping to see friends again and being surprised by new things Davao offers.


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